Sophie Hunger

singer-songwriter // folk

Sophie Hunger’s debut album Monday’s Ghost (2008) delivers well crafted, haunting and atmospheric folk. As the album captures the ear for its melancholy sensibility and Sophie’s beautifully fragile voice, the peculiar arrangements and sound effects recall the ethereal style of Stina Nordenstam and emotional depths of Anna Ternheim. With “House Of Gods” and “Walzer Für Niemand” the Swiss singer-songwriter creates a certain chilly feeling and a rather enigmatic atmosphere. (Thanks, Philipp!)

Distinctive and hypnotic compositions.
Sophie Hunger – House Of Gods
Sophie Hunger – Walzer Für Niemand

[Editor's Note]: Sophie’s label doesn’t want this to be a download (‘stream only!’), but Sophie herself is fine with it. What do you all say? Is it important to download the mp3 or no?
buy this cd

41 Responses to “Sophie Hunger”

  1. Tom :

    Nice melodic voice! Reminds me of susanna and the magical orchestra at times.

    Regarding the download/stream issue – I lose count of the number of times I’ve bought an album (with real money!) after listening to it on here. It’s a fact that I’m more likely to listen to the track if it’s available to download. Perhaps a limited time download and permanent stream? That would work for me.

    Just my $0.02!

  2. Adam :

    I’m OK with stream only when the tracks are available for download. If I like them enough, I’m happy to support the artists and the indie labels that put out most of the artists I like. However, this album is not available in the US on iTunes or Amazon. If labels want to do advance marketing, they should be prepared to put the MP3 out there for people to download.

    The artist/label conflict over marketing probably goes back to the first attempt to market a wax cylinder. I’ve seen plenty of instances when the label’s been dead wrong. But, there are some pretty clever people out there too and each situation’s too individually fraught to make a sweeping generalization. In this instance, because the track is not commercially available, I think the label’s being boneheaded as well as conflicting with their artist’s wishes. Wrong on all fronts.

  3. kawa :

    I really like the download option. Sometimes I don’t like songs when I listen to them for the first time but after a while they are really great and then I buy the whole cd. So if there’s only a stream I just listen to the song once and the chances that I buy the cd are very small.

  4. Porsupah :

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, I’m very much in favor of downloading over streaming. There’s so much in life that’s ephemeral, almost instantaneously transitory – music shouldn’t be forced to be so.

    On a simpler level, if I’ve realised a track’s particularly worth sharing, I’m greatly more likely to dip into my music library, whether I’m online or offline, than try remembering where I encountered it, and hope the stream works adequately – and indeed, is still available.

  5. Marja :

    I don’t see downloading as essential to the service. I tend to download only after I’ve fallen in love with the song, and then too only if I’m thinking of buying/can’t find the album to buy it. Say with HaBanot Nechama, Labeleh links to a Hebrew site, but with my limited Hebrew I can’t figure out how to use it. And I can’t tell if israel-music.com is trustworthy. So I downloaded the two songs you had.

  6. Marja :

    ‘Xcept that I did download a lot of the jazz-section because my connection was uppity. Ho-hum. Anyway, with the high quality streaming that you provide, it might be better to have it for downloading too, unless you also provided worse quality versions for slower connections.

  7. Dana :

    Lovely, but also lovely Feist copy!

  8. Charlotte Baltimore :

    I also agree with Kawa; there have been times when I downloaded a song that only mildly appealed to me on first listen but then grew on me later and eventually led to further purchases.

  9. Charlotte Baltimore :

    Oh, one more comment. The other reason downloads work for me better than just streaming is that I often just download lots of songs off this website and sort through them later to see which ones I like and don’t like. I prefer to listen to my music on the go–walking around, in the car, as part of my daily life–and not while tethered to my computer. So, with downloads, this gives me the freedom to find out what I like and don’t like and then come back to buy more later. With streaming audio only, I wasn’t listening to one-tenth the music, since it’s no fun to have to sit in front of my computer to listen. I have a lot of stuff to do and places to go!

  10. marcel53 :

    like it very much, thx

    concerning the download question, i must say that i absolutly favorised the download option: i can the ear the track long time after having discovered it and as kawa said, it happen often that my opinion change….

  11. golem09 :

    Download is often very nice when I buy the CD, because the waiting until it arrives is always so long :)
    I ordered RF & Lili De La Mora more than a week ago, and it’s still not here, so I was very happy to have the samples on my mp3 player

  12. Peter :

    I personally would say that morally there’s nothing wrong with having the mp3s, or for that matter the streaming music. For me it’s how bad the label would come down on you for not pulling the mp3s (Don’t want to see you fine folks in any legal troubles), or how badly the artist wants the mp3s up.

  13. Adia :

    I’m also in favour of downloading over streaming. For a variety of reasons, but the one that would appeal to the record label the most is that if I can download a track and listen to it again and again at my own convenience, then I’m more likely to go out and buy the album. Streaming is fine, but like a lot of people being able to listen to the track several times can be a lot easier than having to log in and listen to the streamed track.

  14. db :

    I respect their right to say no. It’s true there are some songs in mac that I have never paid for but enjoy listening to occasionally, but 1-2 tracks available as a download is a great way to introduce an artist, as a teaser to buy the album. Comments here suggest it works on lots of us and we do buy..

  15. aleph :

    I agree Dana, it sounds a lot to Feist to me, in a good way nevertheless.

    On the other hand, downloading over streaming, always!!

  16. Christer :

    Download is for me the better option, because then I normally get better bitrate songs than the streamed ones. I will listen to the songs more times, and am more likely to get to know it over time and really get into it. I’m a lot more likely to buy the album if I can download songs first.

  17. dirkhaim :

    When it comes to Indie music you usually need to listen to something a few times before you make your mind about it. This can’t be done using streaming. A user need to carry the song with him for a few days, give it a few listenings and then decide. Hence, streaming is by far the lesser option, especially when ti comes to the artists who make wonderful music but won’t be able to get a fair chance of listening. I say “yes” for downloads and Podcast enabled feed, so users can get the MP3s automatically into their players. Think about it.

  18. Hippie Zingo :

    Of course, with today’s technology it’s only a matter of a couple of clicks to record a stream-only track right off the web, so, it’s kind of a moot point.

  19. Arum :

    I will download an MP3 and if I like it a lot, I’ll buy the whole album, especially if I can find it easily on eMusic or locally on CD. When Trost MP3s were posted here a while back, I liked them so much I bought everything available on eMusic by her and her previous band within hours.

    I will listen to a stream and if I like it, I’ll seek out more in the future, but there’s more of a chance it’ll slip my mind. It has one quick shot to make an impression.

    If I know a record label is uptight about rights it kinda puts me off. It’s their right to be that way, but if I’m honest I must admit my gut reaction is negative. If I like Sophie Hunger and know her label is sensitive to digital piracy, it actually makes me less likely to buy her stuff, not more. Along those lines, I’ll copy a disc from the library before I’ll buy something with DRM off iTunes.

    That said, I’ve spent an obscene amount on music over the years, and that’ll continue I suppose ad infinitum, as a lifelong music fan. But now I see every dollar I spend as a vote, and I’d rather give my money to independent labels where the artist sees a fair share, and I’d rather give my money to labels that deliver aren’t overly fussy about digital rights.

  20. Alan :

    Download! If I like the free downloads, I usually buy the whole album, including those that I’ve already downloaded for free. Streaming usually isn’t enough to make an impression to me. What I do is I put the free tracks in my iPod; only after repeated listening do I really gain interest in an artist.

  21. Aonghus :

    For music such as this which isn’t really available through file sharing mediums it’s probably somewhat inconsequential whether the track is downloadable or not… if the music is good we’ll buy more, if not we wont’. We certainly won’t download here and then either not buy it if we could or try and find it on file sharing. And I agree with the earlier poster who said that it was something of a moot point… it really is! Anything that’s put online in any form can be downloaded/ripped/saved/converted irrespective of the publisher’s intentions.

  22. Hansel :

    Hmmm… the question is: “Does the artist own the music?” Now, if the label has invested a significant amount of money in recording the said music they very likely do have a stake and a right to dictate on this. I suppose it’s a bit like the bank owning the house you’ve built until you pay off the loan you took even though you might have designed it and even physically put the bricks together.
    Personally I think the label should allow a certain amount of free marketing, but if they signed the cheques then it is up to them. I hope it doesn’t land you in trouble. I like Sophie’s music, but I hear she has ripped Regina Spektor off on the albums title track which is disappointing.

  23. Paul Irish :

    Hippie Zingo & Aonghus,

    It’s not really a moot point. All DVDs have DRM and most popular games do too, yet people still buy the real version instead of grabbing the free one online.
    It’s always going to be a couple of clicks to defeat their protectionist intent, but certainly there will be a time delay between geeks doing it and and regular people. I’m curious if models can adjust to serve their content more appropriately before everyone circumvents their roadblocks.

  24. Paul Irish :

    Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts on this.

    I plan to point labels to this thread in the future when they’re considering making things stream-only.

  25. holden :

    i so love how ethereal sophie can get.. by the way, can i post this on my blog? i swear i’ll credit you guys.. thanks

  26. nommh :

    I’d prefer downloads over streams anytime. And Sophie Hungers songs are lovely.

    But I wanted to thank Hansel for mentioning Regina Spektor. Nobody told me anything!

    But I don’t think Hunger ripped Spektor. Not if this is about ‘Ne me quitte pas’. It seems Hunger sings the classic Jacques Brel chanson while Spektor references this song in her incredible post-modern way.

    Sorry for writing out of place.

  27. Justin :

    On a different note…where can you buy this album? I’ve checked the usual outlets with no luck. I want it. :)

  28. Philipp :

    Hello Justin

    You can buy this CD at http://www.gentlemen.ch or Itunes Musicstore.
    Her old CD “Sketches on Sea” is fantastic as well.

  29. bdot :

    why the hell doesn’t the artist have control over her own music?

    the people running labels are such greedy buffoons.

  30. Jadey :

    DOWNLOAD please! I listen to tracks a few times in my car and while at university. Then I sometimes buy the CD or DVD. When I listen to music it’s part of my life. In contrast, while I surf I expect transitory information. My attention is different from when I am listening to music. I have never bought music I heard only while surfing.

  31. Alex :

    I bought the album today in my CD Store, totally in love with it! So beautiful, listened to it three times only today, first times this happen for me in a very long time!

    The beauty of the arrangements and emotions move me a lot!

    ***

    Business Issue: as both an artist and label manager, I can just tell that the albums I produced have been downloaded more on one single website than copies were ever sold…. Not losing money though, but not making any either despite the hard work… So if you download from an artist and LIKE it, using paypal to show appreciation would be a conscious thing to do !

  32. brandon :

    It is absolutely important to be available as a download! A song never (with rare exceptions) finds itself in my CD collection after one listen, I have to hear it a bunch of times before I know if I want to buy it. Since I will likely only hear it once on this site, if I can’t download it then I won’t likely buy it.

    That having been said, I can still respect a decision of an artist if they don’t want it available for download (though in this case its the label, which is debatable since its not really their music).

  33. Hansel :

    @nommh,

    no it’s not the Brel song. I forgot Spektor did that until you mentioned it. I was thinking of Regina’s lovely ballad Samson on the “songs” album. I’d lay money on Sophie having a well-worn copy of that.

    Anyway it’s besides the point. This is really a wonderfuly record. Enjoy it for the beautiful thing it is. Download the teasers and then heartily buy the rest of it.

  34. Mark :

    Ne Me Quitte Pas by Regina Spektor is not a cover. I’m a gigantic Spektor fan, and after this post I purchased both of Sophie Hungers records. I think saying Monday’s Ghost is rip off of Samson is a very large stretch. In fact, I would go further and say I would suspect that were someone to say such a thing that they hadn’t listened to one or either of the tunes.

    Who exactly told you that there was inspiration/borrowing/theft?

  35. Blinkings :

    Download is much better. Most songs usually take a few listens for me before I start to feel something for them. Then I will go and but more etc. If I cant listen first, I would usually not buy.

  36. Hansel :

    @Mark.
    Glad you expanded your collection to include a great artist. I think the comparison Spektor/Hunger on that particular song is blatantly obvious. Try this, listen to Hunger’s song up til the chorus. Then listen to Spektors song right at the start.

    Sophie: Monday’s Ghost:-
    http://www.lastfm.de/music/Sophie+Hunger/_/Monday%27s+Ghost?autostart

    Regina Spektor: Samson (play link first track on left)
    http://cdbaby.com/cd/spektor2

    Nothing wrong with it. It’s just an observation I’m sure I’m not alone in spotting it. I think both are great and have CDs from both.

  37. Roy Burger :

    Really cool song.

    I prefer downloading. I usually listen to the first 30 sec on stream and decide then, if I want to give it a second try with more time on a reasonable stereo combination, not on laptospeekers… So download!

  38. Runman :

    Waiting for the day the repoman collects the last Mercedes from the last of the stubborn parasitic record label execs. Then your question would be moot. Till then (not long now) a stream will do fine. And it’s not as if practically everything recorded nowadays, isn’t available for download, if you are up for the search that is. Greetz to Paul and crew…it’s been awhile.

  39. Nikki :

    How do you download the streamed songs? I want to bring the second song into my German class.

  40. Xavia :

    I like having downloading as an option. For me I either like a song from the get go or it grows on me the more I listen to it. I’m always on the go so I like putting songs on my mp3 player. And later buying their music off iTunes if I really like it. She reminds me of Regina Spektor for some reason…

  41. CanceledCzech :

    This comment is a little late, but I feel like I should add my two cents: FUCK THE LABEL –
    Vive l’artiste!

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